LAKEVIEW — Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, Lakeview Pantry shed its shabby former digs last year for a gorgeous new home at 3945 N. Sheridan Road.
And the minds behind the bright, sleek design were recognized recently for their work. The pantry was heralded as the best community design in Chicago during the 23rd Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, with Wheeler Kearns Architects taking the prize for architectural excellence.
"Wheeler Kearns' outstanding design work allows us to forge a new chapter for Lakeview Pantry," executive director Kellie O'Connell said. "The new building allows us to expand our impact in the community and put down enduring roots so clients can feel hope for the future."
Construction on the pantry's first permanent home began in August 2015 after it raised $3.5 million to buy the building that formerly housed The Houndry near the Sheridan "L" station.
The pantry doubled the size of its previous home, at 3831 N. Broadway, to 7,500 square feet and provided space for its staff offices, meetings, conference room and cooking and nutrition classes.
Volunteers gather before service begins at Lakeview Pantry. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
The brightly lit waiting area at Lakeview Pantry, which opened its first permanent home in June [Provided/Tom Harris Photography]
The pantry fed 8,200 people last year in Lakeview, Uptown, Lincoln Park and North Center and offers self-help programs and counseling.
Six months after opening, the pantry expanded its client service territory farther north in January, reaching farther into Uptown. It has operated in Lakeview for 45 years, renting space on Broadway, but was in desperate need of a bigger, permanent home.
The challenging project "intrigued" Wheeler Kearns project architect Daniel Wicke. He designed a wide-open venue with skylights, polished concrete and a wall of flowers to great clients at the front door.
A wall of flowers greets clients at Lakeview Pantry. Wheeler Kearns Architects won first place in the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design for its work on the pantry's first permanent home. [Provided/Tom Harris Photography]
Office space on the second floor of Lakeview Pantry provides a central location for staffers, who were previously spread out in rented offices around the neighborhood. [Provided/Tom Harris Photography]
"Many nonprofits allocate resources to their mission, and facilities get neglected," Wicke said. "What we tried to do here is think about the impact that space and architecture can have on someone's experience. It furthers the mission in a broader way."
The pantry also was honored in October as the best nonprofit in the 46th Ward.
Wheeler Kearns has won awards for several of its Chicago-based projects, including Wolcott School, Old Town School of Folk Music and Inspiration Kitchens.
A rendering for the new Lakeview Pantry, which opened in June after a year of construction. [Provided/Wheeler Kearns Architects]
Its work on Lakeview Pantry was honored during the Feb. 28 award ceremony, organized by Local Initiatives Support Corporation. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, now in its 20th year, honors the top real estate development and architectural design projects in Chicago.
Along with the pantry, the Chicago Public Library Chinatown branch, Englewood Square, The Breakthrough FamilyPlex and Terrace 459 at Parkside of Old Town received awards.
Check out more photos of the pantry:
The counter at Lakeview Pantry stretches almost the length of the building, and clients have streamlined access to groceries. [Provided/Tom Harris Photography]
The conference room on the second floor of Lakeview Pantry provides a central gathering place for cooking classes and other meetings. [Provided/Tom Harris Photography]
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (center) volunteered at Lakeview Pantry in January instead of attending the inauguration of President Donald Trump. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]
In the days leading up to the pantry's opening in June, workers scrambled to put the finishing touches on Lakeview Pantry's first permanent home, which includes office space on the second floor. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]